CRS Advanced Technologies, Inc. has invalidated all of a
competitor's relevant patent claims in CBM, ending a decade of
litigation. Thus, the first two petitioners have won outright in
the first two CBM decisions. The first decision found for SAP America, Inc.
on all claims. Now, CRS Advanced Technologies, Inc. has likewise
won, with the Board cancelling every claim pending in the
litigation. SeeCRS Adv. Techs., Inc. v. Frontline Techs.,
Inc., CBM2012-00005, Paper 66 (PTAB Jan. 21, 2014).
The Board found the six asserted claims invalid for claiming an
abstract idea. The patent, relating to "human resources
management," described "automating the performance of
substitute fulfillment" and included a method and system
claiming variously a database, information, an Internet
communication link, a website, an organization worksite location,
and one or more computers.
In analyzing § 101, the Board held that the
machine-or-transformation test, while not the only test available,
applied in this case. The Board continued: "cases have found
claims to be directed to patent-ineligible subject matter where
computing technology did not limit the scope of the claims
meaningfully." Analogizing the cases of Bancorp Services, L.L.C. v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of
Canada; Dealertrack, Inc. v. Huber; and Accenture Global Servs., GmbH v. Guidewire Software,
Inc., the Board found the process claims lacked
particularized technology integral to the claimed subject matter.
They found the "generic computer technology" to be more
akin to 'computer-aided' as in the claims of
Dealertrack, and the phrases 'transaction
database' and 'transmitting information' to be akin to
the unaccepted claims of Accenture. Thus, the Board held
the method claims invalid.
Regarding the system claims, the Board held that including a
"database" and a "system" "do not
necessarily change the patent-eligibility analysis," but
rather, since the claims mirrored method claim 3, they fell with
that claims' fate. Thus, the Board cancelled the six asserted
claims, ending almost ten years of litigation for CRS Advanced
The decision capped a long journey for CRS. On February 10,
2004, Frontline sued CRS for patent infringement on the patent.
Over ten years, the parties appeared in courts, the patent office
central reexamination unit, and finally before the Board. In
February 2013, the district court stayed the case—for a
second time and close to trial—in light of the CBM
proceeding. CRS v. Frontline emphasizes the effectiveness
of post-grant review procedures when used strategically.
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